Last month a majority of clubs in English football's sixth tier voted to void their season, a decision ratified by the FA's Alliance Committee on Friday, whilst the Conference Premier voted to play on.
There were, however, sufficient clubs – York included – in the abandoned divisions who wished to continue playing, and proposed a mini-tournament amongst themselves. Significantly, though, they wanted the incentive of promotion at the end of it, something the committee rejected, explaining: “The Alliance Committee rejected the proposal, and any alternative, in the interest of the integrity of the National League system.”
Those that voted to void the season, who included Farsley Celtic, Bradford (Park Avenue) and Guiseley did so because they felt playing without fans in the ground was not a viable option once Government grants dried up in January and were replaced with loans until March. There had been an expectation of further grants.
The decision means there will be no relegation from this season's Conference but there will still be promotion. Yorkshire's only representatives in the division, Halifax Town, are ninth, a point outside the play-offs which at that level takes in the teams from second to seventh place.
York will now play a fifth consecutive season in National League North, a huge blow to the pride of a club who at the turn of the century had been Football League ever-presents since 1929, a full-time club in a largely part-time division which moved into a new stadium shared with rugby league side York City Knights last month.
Lower down the pyramid, 12 Yorkshire clubs from the voided Northern Premier League, North Counties East and North West Counties League are to play in the Covid Cup in April and May provided they are allowed supporters in their grounds and to sell refreshments. Crucially, though, it is a tournament in its own right, with no promotion or relegation hanging on it.
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